With the local current affairs news agencies of our community publishing their annual year-in-review for 2008, one cannot help but reflect on the year past – even if for most historians it hasn’t quite been dead long enough to look back upon with sober second thought. As with any year, two main themes continually echo in our community – personal achievement, and a sea of change. Indeed, these are often the major themes of any community, not just micronationalism. While these two themes can apply to any year in our collective history, there are some years when one is so particularly notable that it comes to dominate the years prior – and perhaps even the years to follow. This was the case with change in our community during 2008.
For the first time since 2005, the Anglophone Simulationist Community saw memorable change in the year past. It was in this Institute’s RIMA Journal in December 2005 when I discussed the phasing out of the old dominant micronations of Attera and Babkha (though Babkha under Hesam Jahandar did manage to spite my predictions for a couple of months since then), and the rise of the new guard. Mind you, the new guard at that time was micronations such as Gotzborg, Alexandria, and Lovely. In 2008, there was a similar situation, but the nature of the players was very much different.
In fact, one could say that change in 2008 was very much a handover of responsibility for the community from the ‘senior’ participants who have participated since the turn of the millennium to the younger and arguably more-vibrant generation of micronationalists. Two handovers particularly catch my attention as I reflect upon the past year.
The first handover of responsibility occurred as the calendar turned over to 2008, with the announcement that I would be retiring from current affairs journalism. It pains me to use myself as an example in this case, but given that for the better part of six years my various current affairs news publications were often the main source of news for the community, I’m afraid that I cannot avoid mentioning it. Along with Scott Alexander, my often-competitor (friendly of course) in the news media business, we composed the ‘Old Guard’ of micronational journalism in our community. With both Scott and I out of the picture as 2008 began, the onus of reporting daily news to the community fell upon the younger generation. As has been seen in many cases in our community’s history, some brave micronationalists rose up to tackle the responsibility left upon their laps. Specifically, the Intermicronational News Service, most prominently associated with the capable William Tomsett, took up the torch upon my exit and performed quality work in journalism over 2008. Yet, he was not the only person to step up to bear the responsibility for the younger generation. The industrious Matt Kovac, through Millennium News, also provided a unique perspective on daily events throughout the year. To the credit of both of these people, both news agencies continue to provide a valuable service to the community in this New Year.
The second handover is essentially the elephant in the room. Yes, I’m referring to the end of Micronations.net as the Anglophone Micronational Community’s primary hub. A fine product of its dedicated co-owners, the amount of work and responsibility associated with operating the site finally caught up with the macronational life commitments of the co-owners, and the site was shut down early in October 2008 to the dismay of many. Yet, within a week, the younger generation had taken upon them the responsibility of providing for the community a new hub, Microhub.org, to provide for a common discussion forum for simulationists (with the sovereignists and secessionists that participated at Micronations.net having centralised at Micronations.Eu following the closure).
These handovers were unprecedented in our community’s history, as the younger generation were essentially taking over from the generation that founded the Simulationist Community. The two most important community functions – journalism and the provision of a hub – that had previously been operated for the better part of this decade by the founding generation, had passed finally to the younger generation. It is for this reason that, in my humble opinion, “change” dominates as the theme for 2008, and as in 2005, change in 2008 will be remembered distinctly from the typical change that is found in any ‘ordinary’ year.